Mel A. Tomlinson, a ballet dancer of powerful, regal demeanor and one of the few performers to star with three major companies — Dance Theater of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and New York City Ballet — died on Feb. 5 in Huntersville, N.C. He was 65. Twenty years ago he had had AIDS and was in and out of the hospital for three years before eventually getting admitted to the House of Mercy AIDS hospice in Belmont, N.C., in 1998: he made a full recovery. While there he became a phlebotomist and earned a doctorate in theology. Up until his hospitalization, just before Christmas 2018, he delivered services using American Sign Language at St. Paul Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C.
“It was like watching him dance,” Ms. Claudia Folts a long time friend who collaborated with Mr. Tomlinson on his 2018 memoir, “Beyond My Dreams,” said. “It was all his hands and his face, and it was just beautiful. It was like he got to perform every week.”
Mel got a unicycle for a Christmas gift from Santa when he was 9 and loved it. He was one of six siblings, and his parents did not have the money to spare on dance lessons, so Mel had neither a formal training in acrobatics or gymnastics, but was the sports mascot of his high school. A local ballet teacher saw one of his halftime performances and offered him free classes that he gladly accepted. He was spotted by the choreographer Agnes George de Mille (her uncle was film director Cecil B.) who initially turned him down stating that there was no place in her repertoire for a black dancer, but changed her mind after Mel refused to accept that defeat and continued auditioning. Eventually, Miss de Mille hired him for her Heritage Dance Theater.
- Mr. Tomlinson has Mars in Scorpio, creative fulfillment, in the ninth house of higher calling and travel.
- Mars + Saturn are sextile the preponderance in the eleventh house of Capricorn showing the great strides he made with the public and his ability to overcome preconceived notions of ballet stars.
- His ascendant at 13 Aquarius is a tad wide for Pluto knocking on the seventh house, but if we consider it, we see his transformative ability of marrying his personality with his jobs that supports the above.
- Jupiter in Gemini in the fourth suggests that he came from a large family and really loved the dynamic of it. It is sextile his Pluto and thus highlighting another transformation he made was making coworkers friends i.e. Ms. Folts.
- His Moon is on the eleventh house cusp showing that his career was tied to how well he was publicly received.
- While his ascendant is in Aquarius, Uranus in Cancer in the fifth shows how when his legs gave out from ill, the hands (rules by Cancer) became a new form of dance for him. Trine his Mars and Saturn in the ninth house, it worked for him on several levels and showed his ability to conquer whatever hurdle life threw at him with great equanimity.
- Libra rules the kidneys and pancreas in the eighth house of death where Neptune resides. It is squared Uranus in the fifth and then again the stellium in the eleventh suggestive of problems with waste disposal. True enough, Neptune is opposite the TransNeptunian planet Hades at Taurus 02 (out of quadrature) and square Pluto highlighting this health problem.
- Mr. Tomlinson died of pancreatic cancer